RECAP: WEEKEND NORWEGIAN ACTION
Josh Gatt and Molde saw their Norwegian Cup dreams end in dramatic last-minute fashion while Mikkel Diskerud was instrumental as Stabaek surged to yet another victory.
Fredrikstad FK 3 - 2 Molde FK
Josh Gatt played the full 120 minutes for Molde on Sunday afternoon, as they saw their chance to reach the Norwegian Cup semifinal evaporate in the dying minutes of overtime on their visit to Fredrikstad FK.
Sean Cunningham was included on Molde's bench, but was not called upon by head coach Ole Gunnar Solskjær to enter the game.
Fredrikstad needed only a quarter-hour to surge to the lead, as a stylish display of passing on the left side ended with Joachim Thomassen surging to the endline before dropping a short pass back to Celso Borges, whose side-footed shot from the just inside the six-yard box left the keeper no chance.
Molde equalized four minutes before the half when Magnus Wolff Eikrem curled a 25-yard free kick over the wall and just inside the far post, however Molde still had one more act in them moments before the halftime whistle.
Magne Hoseth attempted a shot from the edge of the penalty area, which was blocked by the nearest defender on its way towards goal, but bounced high and directly to the right post, where Davy Claude Angan was waiting to easily tap it in for the lead.
Molde looked to be well on their way to victory, as full time approached, until the hosts struck late to send the game in to 30 minutes of overtime.
Borges fed Amin Askar with a short drop-off into the right side of the area in the 80th minute, and the defensive midfielder struck low with his first touch to send the ball just inside the far post.
As the game neared the end of its two 15-minute overtime periods and looked headed for a dramatic penalty shootout, Fredrikstad broke the hearts of their visitors, with Tarik Elyounoussi dropping a short ball to Etzaz Hussain 25 yards straight out from goal for a high, looping shot which flew over the defense and Molde keeper and into the left upper corner of the net for the 117th-minute winner.
Molde can now concentrate on continuing their successful league campaign, where they are trying to protect a five-point lead atop the standings. They have more than one week off before hosting fifth-place Lillestrøm on Monday.
Stabaek 2 - 0 Strømsgodset
Mikkel Diskerud played the full 90 minutes in central midfield for Stabaek, assisting on the winning goal against Strømsgodset as they surged to fourth place with a fourth straight win in league play.
Stabaek were off and running at the opening whistle, putting their stamp on the game with a seventh-minute go-ahead goal.
Diskerud curled in an inswinging corner from the left side towards the near edge of the six-yard box, where Bjarni Olafur Eiriksson was waiting to sharply head it into goal for the home lead.
They continued pressing relentlessly and their lead was doubled five minutes after the halftime break after a needless turnover by their guests, as Johan Andersson slipped a forward pass to Pálmi Rafn Pálmason for a 18-yard strike from the right side that bounced off the underside of the crossbar and over the line for 2-0.
The only sour note for Stabaek came in stoppage time when Gilles Ondo was shown a straight red card by the referee when he appeared to throw his marking defender to the turf, but it did little to affect the final outcome of the game.
The result brings Stabaek up to fourth place, remarkably only trailing league leaders Molde by six points. They have a potentially pivotal clash awaiting them on Sunday, when they host second-place Brann Bergen.
Bodø/Glimt 0 - 0 Hønefoss BK
Steve Clark and Hønefoss shut down their hosts Bodø/Glimt on Sunday, however were equally thwarted by the opposing defense as the two teams battled to a scoreless draw.
A fairly lifeless affair saw both teams with very limited chances in the opening 45 minutes. Hønefoss should have done better with a succession of corners which went wasted near the 20 minute mark, then were close when Ivorian forward Kevin Beugre was barely thwarted directly in front of goal by keeper Pavel Londak.
The second half saw the game sink into a quagmire of uninspired play by both teams, neither of which came close to threatening, with the deadlocked result in little doubt as full time approached.
Hønefoss remain in fourth place with the point taken, and have a tough day set out for them when they host second-place Ranheim on Sunday.
Løv/Ham 0 - 0 Mjøndalen IF
Kyle Helton saw a rare half of action on Sunday, coming into the game for Mjøndalen as they tried to break a scoreless draw with Løv/Ham, however neither team could find their way into goal in their scoreless deadlock on Sunday.
The game was a heavy defensive battle with both teams struggling to create many chances in the opening half.
Mjøndalen were close in the 37th minute when Fredrik Gulsvik fired a blast from the edge of the 18-yard box which was just punched clear by the keeper.
That was clearly not enough to convince head coach Vegard Hansen, who brought on Helton at the half for Gulsvik to try to induce a change of pace.
Løv/Ham had a slight advantage in the second half, but were unable to put away any of their opportunities, with each team eventually settling for the draw.
Mjøndalen drop into the relegation places in 13th place, and will hope to get one in the win column on Sunday when they host next-to-last Randaberg IL.
Jonathan Borrajo will be patrolling the right side of Ham-Kam's defense as they try to break out of their recent funk on their trip to Bryne FK on Monday night.